In a recent development, Kenya’s parliament has introduced a ban on the popular Kaunda suit, which derives its name from the late Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda. Speaker of Parliament, Moses Wetangula, announced that both the Kaunda suit and traditional African attire would no longer be allowed within the parliamentary premises.
The Kaunda suit, characterized by a safari jacket and matching trousers, gained significant popularity among the political elite in Kenya and other parts of Africa, largely due to its frequent adoption by Kenyan President William Ruto during official events.
Speaker Wetangula cited emerging fashion trends as the reason behind the ban, as they posed a challenge to the established parliamentary dress code. The prescribed dress code for men now includes a coat, collar, tie, long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, socks, shoes, or service uniform. For women, the guidelines specify business, formal, or smart casual wear, with restrictions on skirt and dress length and sleeveless blouses.
While acknowledging the previous tolerance of the Kaunda suit in parliament, Wetangula emphasized the importance of preserving the parliamentary dress code by discontinuing its use. President Ruto’s frequent appearances in the Kaunda suit had sparked discussions on social media, further drawing attention to this attire.
The ban on the suit has elicited mixed reactions on social media platforms. Some question the prohibition of an African attire within an African parliament, while others express support for the decision.